Most churches have written bylaws or policies that explain how they are governed, what their belief system is, and what the rights and responsibilities of members are. Most churches have in their policies, rules about what to do when members “do each other wrong”, and when members “do wrong in the community”. Most churches have rules for who they will marry and under what circumstances. Most churches have rules stating the requirements for becoming a member or for holding church offices (elders, deacons, etc). Most churches have rules about what to do when a member of the staff or a volunteer leader misbehaves.
I think that having these rules is necessary. Many of the Pauline Epistles are filled with direction to the church around these types of issues, and their resolution, so it is clear that God values our conduct in these matters. But as important as having the rules is living by them and enforcing them with complete impartiality. A sure way to destroy a vibrant congregation over time is to continue to allow minor infractions of written rules and bylaws without consequence. In fact, I am quite sure that inconsistent application of rules is a sin. This sin has a name, “Partiality”. This sin has a more serious name, “Injustice”. Continue reading “Leadership, Policies, and Partiality”